Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Search For Earth-Like Worlds Focuses On Sun's Siblings

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-in-the-family dept.

Space 64

astroengine writes "The search for 'Earth-like' worlds just became even more Earth-like. Researchers from the University of Turku, Finland, have begun the search for the Sun's siblings in the hope that they may play host to exoplanets. Since these stars 'grew up' in close proximity to our Sun inside a stellar nursery some 4.5 billion years ago, they may have shared more than just star-building materials. Through the biology-spreading hypothesis 'panspermia,' they may have also shared the basic building blocks for life. Two sibling candidates have now been found and the researchers hope to survey the two stars — which contain similar metals and are of a similar age to our Sun — for bona fide Earth-like worlds. Could these worlds have life? If they do, extraterrestrial life may have more in common with us than we ever imagined."

cancel ×

64 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

pansermia? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39622881)

spellcheck ?

Proper spelling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39622907)

Proper spelling. Is it good or is it whack?

Panspermia (2, Informative)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39622913)

Panspermia, not pansermia.

Re:Panspermia (1, Offtopic)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39622929)

Corrected already. Well done /.!

The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (4, Funny)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623057)

Our TV broadcast signals reached them years ago... They saw Reality TV programs like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians", "Big Brother Austria" and "MTV Teenage Cribs". Horrified, they quickly hid their planets from view with giant cloaking devices, hoping that the Earthlings never find them... ever...

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39623189)

If a superluminal (or similar) alien society were to first encounter our civilization by our TV transmissions, I anticipate they would be initially intrigued and approach. As they got closer (and thus more recent broadcasts), they would study the sitcoms to understand human behavior and revel at some of the educational content. A few light-years closer and the sitcoms are going downhill, Elmo appears on Sesame Street, and the aliens start growing concerned. A little closer and reality TV sets in, the aliens write off the planet as 'lost potential' and resume their search for the Higgs Boson.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (4, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623233)

Exactly. The old shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek (TOS) will intrigue them and make them very interested in humans. When they get close enough to watch Jerry Springer, they're going to either decide our civilization has gone down the tubes, or that we need to be invaded.

At this point, I think occupation by intelligent aliens is probably preferable to ruling ourselves.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39623779)

Well, when they saw the "historical documents" like Gilligan's Island, they would probably come mount a rescue mission.

Honestly, we can't even begin to imagine what extra-solar life would even look like - let alone what their thought patterns and culture might be. I imagine it might be like that one episode of ST:TNG where they call us "Ugly bags of mostly water..."

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623811)

One person on television would serve to let aliens know we deserve to be wiped out:

David Hasslehoff

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623913)

Exactly. The old shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek (TOS) will intrigue them and make them very interested in humans. When they get close enough to watch Jerry Springer, they're going to either decide our civilization has gone down the tubes, or that we need to be invaded.

At this point, I think occupation by intelligent aliens is probably preferable to ruling ourselves.

Yes, because aliens have the same taste, opinion and morals as you the enlightened human. Xenopsychology is a difficult field with a sample of ... zero.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39628239)

Good point. Who knows...? Earth might become a major source of media entertainment in this section of the galaxy. <shudder>

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

Cragen (697038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39629321)

The Galactic COMEDY Channel.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39630967)

Good point. Who knows...? Earth might become a major source of media entertainment in this section of the galaxy. <shudder>

Might? Who says we aren't already?

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39624607)

Yeah, alien civilizations will probably also detest Comic Sans, enslave us and demand we write everything in Helvetica, and also only buy artisanal Fair Trade organic coffee. Because when I think "aliens capable of interstellar travel," nothing springs to mind faster than the image of a nouveau-nerd hipster douchebag riding in on a faster-than-light fixie telling us how all our culture is so lame, and derivative of everything they have in the star systems of Alpha Centauri.

"You guys should go to Proxima Romulon IV, you can see - huh? Oh, where is it? Pff, never mind, it's pretty obscure, and you guys probably wouldn't know the password to get in."

Because any alien civilization will be completely uninterested in entertainment, and have zero interest in anything other than "classic" science fiction with all the compelling story of a child's comic book, all the heartfelt acting of an inert piece of wood, and all the production values of a fucking lite brite.

Seriously - how do you survive being so terminally smug? Do you ever find yourself overcome with a fierce desire to self-harm on account of it?

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

Cobralisk (666114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39625879)

Or they might just traverse the vastness of interstellar space to demand we resume production of Single Female Lawyer. Who knows what extraterrestrial tastes are?

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39628487)

If they view TOS, they will be too scared to come around fearing Kirk will sleep with all their women.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623203)

They're going to send warships when they find out that there is no season 3 of "Pushing Daisies".

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (3, Funny)

Ep0nym0us (2463806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624331)

They actually went back home to get MORE warships when they found out what happened to Firefly.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#39626117)

They actually went back home to get MORE warships when they found out what happened to Firefly.

We should be getting the first wave of warships any day now from any system 22 light years away, if they tuned into Galactica 1980.

What the fuck, Earthlings? You had the perfect opportunity for Adama and his people to forge an alliance with your people, start manufacturing warships, and spearhead a liberating force to reclaim the 12 Colonies. And what do you do instead? You give us aliens vs earthlings baseball, flying motorcycles, and Wolf Man Jack. You people are soooooo fucked.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

Svartormr (692822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623265)

Wow! I never thought some good could come of Reality TV. There but for all that drivil we could be facing Alien Invasion! >:)

The two candidates are 100 light-years away (1)

localroger (258128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624999)

...so they're just now hearing the Titanic send out its SOS, and we still have a couple of decades to invent FTL and divert them from that Nazi experimental TV broadcast which figured so prominently in Contact.

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39630117)

What kind of spoiled your joke for me was the fact that those shows are less than ten years old, and the signals would have only reached a few stars, none of which are likely to be like our own daystar. Better would have been "one of these days, Alice... POW!"

Or even better yet, War of the Worlds would be pretty far out by now, eighty or so light years out. Think that would freak the aliens out much?

Re:The TV-Theory of Why We Can't Find Life... (1)

sfhock (1308629) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631751)

MEH, we're already being viewed by billions on FOGNL

Under the street light (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623157)

Isn't this akin to looking for your lost keys under the street light because its brighter there?

It would seem that finding life on planets around red dwarfs is just as likely, even if we have no direct experience with life on such planets.

Re:Under the street light (2, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623243)

No, the idea is that life like ours is probably more likely in star systems that resemble our own, on planets that resemble our own. We're less likely to find planets resembling our own around red dwarfs.

Re:Under the street light (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623313)

We're less likely to find planets resembling our own around red dwarfs.

Citation needed.

There seems precious little evidence for this unless by "resembling our own" your ONLY criteria is orbiting a sun "resembling our own".

Re:Under the street light (2)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623415)

We can only make assumptions based on what we know. If we take all of the planets that we have ever found life on they are overwhelmingly like Earth (okay they are Earth). Point being you might as well start with what you know even if it is just one data point.

Re:Under the street light (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623491)

And its easier to see under the street light.

QED.

Re:Under the street light (3)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624213)

Your analogy still fails.

It's certainly easier to see under streetlights. But you're not looking for your set of keys that you lost under these streetlights. To look for keys you lost is making the presumption that the keys exist, and that you lost them under the streetlight. In your analogy, you're looking for something specific, a thing you can attach a proper noun to.

What they're doing is more like looking for dicarded chewing gum. You think it exists. You're not looking for any specific piece of chewing gum (though you may be limiting your search by only looking for the red ones). You're looking under the streetlights because it's easier to find what you're looking for there.

Re:Under the street light (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624665)

A better analogy: We've found car keys on a road once, so when looking for more car keys, we choose to focus on roads, rather than elsewhere, like hillsides and ocean.

Of course, the ideal place to look for lost car keys is in bars, but we don't know that - we've only found the one set.

Re:Under the street light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39623697)

We're less likely to find planets resembling our own around red dwarfs.

Citation needed.

There seems precious little evidence for this unless by "resembling our own" your ONLY criteria is orbiting a sun "resembling our own".

Really? You need a citation for why it seems more likely that a star like Sol is more likely to have a planet like Earth, than a star that is notably different from Sol?

Perhaps it would help if the original statement were reworded to satisfy a higher degree of idiotic pedantry:
"Assuming that stellar formation is deterministic (the "wizard did it" theory not being the dominate one in the scientific community), it stands to reason that planets which formed under conditions similar to Earth would have a higher chance of developing along similar paths to Earth. One such condition is the type of star at the center of the star-system in question."

The concept is basically that we don't yet know enough about planetary formation to know whether or not any type of star other than our sun is capable of forming life supporting planets. We do however know that our sun formed a life supporting planet, so in the absence of better models of planetary formation, if you want to find life supporting planets the optimal play is to search stars that closely resemble the one known success story.

Re:Under the street light (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39625137)

Really? You need a citation for why it seems more likely that a star like Sol is more likely to have a planet like Earth, than a star that is notably different from Sol?

Maybe a citation isn't the right thing to ask for, but as a hypothesis it certainly warrants further examination (fortunately someone is doing just that, if TFS is to be believed). Yes, the hypothesis is intuitive and seems perfectly reasonable on its face, but the same could be said of a hypothesis that heavier objects would accelerate faster when falling than lighter objects. There are a lot of factors that make life (as we know it) possible, and while they are afforded by our star, it's not clear that they couldn't be afforded by stars with very different characteristics—given other parameters that would make those differences a wash. Narrowing a search is often the best way to reduce the time before finding a result, but only if you narrow the search wisely.

By only looking at stars like our own, we then have to add a lot of other criteria to make the search meaningful: planet distance, orbit time, axis tilt, day length, composition. It might be that this is a worthwhile tradeoff, but it remains to be seen.

Re:Under the street light (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623873)

There is a general presumption that planets which would be orbiting closely to small stars like a M-class main sequence star would be likely to tidally locked as well, presuming they were about Earth-sized and in the "habitable zone" where water would be liquid on the surface. Planets of that nature might be possible, but the environment would be very different.

Re:Under the street light (2)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623245)

It might be more like the way a drunk uses the light post.
More for support than illumination.

Re:Under the street light (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39625761)

It's more like looking for pee in the pool right next to the kid with the sheepish look on his face. It seems likely we'll find life on one of planets of the closest stars on the plane of the ecliptic first, because that is the soonest we will arrive to have a close look.

Re:Under the street light (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39627535)

The amount of radiation in the habitable zone around a red dwarf makes complex life as we know it unlikely. Not to say there couldn't be life, but the odds are better with friendlier conditions.

Re:Under the street light (1)

Malvineous (1459757) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640767)

Isn't this akin to looking for your lost keys under the street light because its brighter there?

If you've got no idea at all where your keys are then why not? Might as well look in all the easy places first.

billions of worlds with life (3, Interesting)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623275)

There are probably billions of worlds with life...and probably millions of worlds with intelligent life...yet the best we can probably ever do is find indirect evidence of their existence. Makes me kind of sad. Still we should continue trying.

Re:billions of worlds with life (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623771)

With Active SETI we might be able to find more than indirect evidence. EM waves can travel a lot faster than any spaceship we could build. For systems only 100 ly away it would take at least 200 years for a reply and there is no guarantee that they are listening in the microwave or visible spectrum. They may be so advanced that radio or laser communication would be the equivalent of trying to communicate with smoke signals. Clearly it's still a long shot, but a lot less of one than with passive SETI, which relies on getting massively lucky.

If we really wanted to we could build a galaxy-scale microwave beacon for less than the cost of a manned mission to Mars. By galaxy scale I mean targeted, directional radio pulses powerful enough to reach the galactic center. A pulsed laser would have fewer beam spread problems, but I don't think we have any lasers powerful enough to travel that distance while still being detectable.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39625215)

Is this something we really want to do though? I suspect that advertising our presence, our location and the fact that there is a habitable planet here, to random civilisations that will thus know about us before we know about them? I think it's safer to stay hidden and keep listening.

Re:billions of worlds with life (2)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39627549)

There are more than likely trillions of habitable planets. It's not a scarce resource, so there's no motivation for an invader to waste incredible resources invading us when they can go set up shop on other planets that don't have any species capable of self-defense.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39628429)

Fear. The noblest of motivations. We should let fear guide us in all of our endeavors. There is no greater guiding principle than fear and the desire to be safe. Look how much it has improved the US since 9/11.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634819)

Considering the fact that a civilization would have to be so advanced that we'd be chimps by comparison for them to figure out a way around the lightspeed barrier (not to mention other relativistic effects), it's doubtful we'll ever visit or be visited by extraterrestrials.

I wonder what an extraterrestrial 100 light years away about as advanced as we were 100 years ago would think if he picked up radio signals from us? Would he even realize that they were communication?

Here are a couple of science fiction stories that are germaine to the discussion:

A strange discovery [slashdot.org]
We still haven't found extraforgostnic life [slashdot.org]

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39662037)

by probability alone, it is almost a certainty that there exist a significant number of life forms that are more intelligent and more technologically advanced than we are....but even if they are of our intelligence...it is almost certain that some may be 10,000 or 100,000, or 1,000,000 years further along in terms of technological achievement.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39626541)

For systems only 100 ly away it would take at least 200 years for a reply and there is no guarantee that they are listening in the microwave or visible spectrum. They may be so advanced that radio or laser communication would be the equivalent of trying to communicate with smoke signals.

If they are that advanced, they should be able to still see "smoke signals" and recognize a pattern in the signal to realize it is not naturally occurring.

In other words, they may no longer use broadcast EM for their own communications, but that has little to nothing to do with looking for signs of life not on your own planet.

If they are looking at all, they will still see and recognize our signal. If they are attempting to be found, there is no reason not to broadcast at the lowest common denominator just to be safe.

All we can hope to do is catch the brief couple centuries where a civilization passes through the radio age and belches out a bunch of EM before switching to something else. Which is exactly what we are trying.

Some might argue that humanity itself is getting near the end of the radio age.
We broadcast much less now, and communicate more via light over fiber or EM over a conductive cable. If that trend continues, we will become dark to any other civilization that might be looking. At which time there will only be a ~200 year bubble of EM noise being sent out, and then silence.

However if that does happen, there is no reason to think SETI will give up and shut down. Humanity will still be listening for EM from the stars, even if we no longer use it for our own communications.

Re:billions of worlds with life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39627335)

Some might argue that humanity itself is getting near the end of the radio age.
We broadcast much less now, and communicate more via light over fiber or EM over a conductive cable. If that trend continues, we will become dark to any other civilization that might be looking. At which time there will only be a ~200 year bubble of EM noise being sent out, and then silence.

Actually, I think that notion is descended from a bit of wishful thinking from pro-seti folks who want to explain why we haven't found anything yet. We might be using lower power on a lot of communications, but our radar deployment has gone up, and up, and up. Military radar scans alone are probably a massive source of radio waves.
  There's little substitute for a good radar: it's cheap, easy, and reliable for tracking all sorts of things, and as our information infrastructure grows, the number of things we track also grow.
.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39628295)

We were always dark to any size radio telescope that is easy for us to imagine. If the aliens have radio telescopes hundreds or even thousands of miles in diameter, dishes that are on a planetary scale, then all bets are off, but otherwise we have been pretty quiet even to Alpha Centauri. 99.9% of our transmissions stay within the earth's atmosphere. It's really only things like weather radar that might indicate our presence to a truly immense alien dish.

I think it's pretty likely that we have always been more or less radio quiet even to our nearest neighbors. Well except for the recent intentional transmissions from the Ukraine and Australia and once or twice even from Arecibo. Although as usual we cowardly Americans choose to let fear guide our actions. Our most serious Arecibo transmission was sent to a galaxy so distant that it may as well not have been sent at all. Damn cowards. If we were serious Arecibo would be the place to start. Of course the Chinese will soon have a dish even bigger and better than Arecibo. If they want to transmit no one is going to stop them. We should be making regular weekly or at least monthly transmissions to all of our nearest neighbors that can be reached from Arecibo. Unfortunately that wouldn't include Alpha Centauri, our nearest of near neighbors. For that we'd have to rely on Australia or Chile.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635237)

We broadcast much less now

Are you kidding me?? When I was a kid there were 3 TV stations in St Louis. There are over a dozen now, same with radio. Plus we now have, in addition, damned near everyone with a radio transmitter in their pocket communicating with cell towers. Then cell towers weren't there, nor were the radio transmitters in our pockets. Hell, when I was 14 and Star Trek came out, those cell phones (communicators) were as much fantasy as the self-opening doors and Uhura's bluetooth headset. Oh yeah -- bluetooth is radio. WiFi is radio. Both are very new.

When there were 3 stations in St Louis there were no satellites. None, until the Russians launched Sputnik when I was six, and all it did was go "beep beep beep". Now we have dozens of communications satellites.
There was no such thing as GPS -- and it uses radio waves, too.

You apparently didn't think about that very much. There is far more radio wave activity than ever in history. Radio waves aren't going away in any infant alive's lifetime, and never will unless we discover something better.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638093)

You apparently didn't think about that very much.

Actually I did. I can explain my thought process.

With the exception of TV broadcasts, none of the others you listed have enough power nor are transmitted omni-directionally to make it through our atmosphere.
UHF can even bounce off the atmosphere. It all depends on the frequency there.

Sure, we have more TV broadcast, but the largest percentage of even our TV signals comes over a wire. I didn't claim broadcast TV was dead yet or anything, but do you really expect it to survive another hundred years?
I dunno, maybe I'm wrong and TV broadcast will never die. I just can't see how when already it's such a tiny minority for communications use compared to the whole, now and in the past.
But needlessly broadcasting up is just a waste of power, and we now have the technology to reduce that greatly.

But outside of TV, no. That's just silly.

Our satellites don't broadcast out towards space, they broadcast towards the surface.
Same with cellular towers, they broadcast horizontally with nearly no signal going up. Likewise, being directly under a tower or wifi access point you'll note pretty crappy signal strength.
This is because the signal starts out horizontally near the antenna, and slowly spreads outward up and down the further away it gets. It's like a doughnut ring shape with the antenna in the hole.

Bluetooth, wifi, even cell phones will at best go a couple miles up and be absorbed in the atmosphere.
It takes a relatively large amount of directed power to punch through it and even make it to space.

Plus there's the whole annoying inverse square law. Yea I wish that bastard would leave us alone too.

I still hold that there is a very small amount of signal being 'accidentally' transmitted up with enough power to get through the atmosphere, and of course I already specifically excluded signals we send on purpose. TV was about it, and I'm only sure of that with the old analog TV broadcasts. No idea if they upgraded to newer methods when switching to HD (probably not)

Radio waves aren't going away in any infant alive's lifetime, and never will unless we discover something better.

Yes I admit that prediction is my opinion. But I still do believe there is a very real chance it will not be used for another 100 years.
It would need to last for at least then to be "in the middle of this age", and anything less would indeed make us closer to the end than the beginning.

But that's the thing, for quite a large number of purposes we DO have better.
Leaving cables and fiber aside, even the method in which we transmit radio is better.
No longer do we waste tons of power broadcasting in a sphere from the transmitter, knowing no one directly above or below would need that signal.
Instead we can broadcast directionally with a much lower power output for the same range. Alternately the same power output for a much further range.

Of course this falls into the category of "on purpose", but our long-range space probe communications network and ground based transmitters would have the highest chance of being detectable from another star system.
Broadcast TV, the next strongest thing sent straight up, will be quite the difficult signal to pick out of the noise much too far away from Earth.

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39643771)

Yes, some frequencies bounce off the atmosphere; the AM and ham radio bands, for example, which is why you can communicate with someone in Australia from Canada. But VHF (TV and FM) don't skip, and there are more TV and radio stations than ever, worldwide.

Plus there's the whole annoying inverse square law.

Yeah, but that's a different subject (you did see the forgnost alien story I wrote about how the aliens are looking for life in the goant planets' moons, right? It's mentioned there).

Of course this falls into the category of "on purpose", but our long-range space probe communications network and ground based transmitters would have the highest chance of being detectable from another star system.
Broadcast TV, the next strongest thing sent straight up, will be quite the difficult signal to pick out of the noise much too far away from Earth.

Agreed, that's in the sf story, too (inverse square law and overpowering signals from the star itself).

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39667961)

Yeah, but that's a different subject (you did see the forgnost alien story I wrote about how the aliens are looking for life in the goant planets' moons, right? It's mentioned there).

ooo, no I haven't seen or read it, but that sounds up my ally. Was that a posting? Or could you provide a link?

Thanks!

Re:billions of worlds with life (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672493)

Yes, I've been writing and posting SF in my journal for a while.

We still haven't found extraforgostnic life [slashdot.org]
A strange discovery [slashdot.org]

I have about ten short time travel stories involving our descendants ten million years into the future as well, it's going to be a book titled Everything You Know Is Wrong. This one, [slashdot.org] Little Green Men, has to do with Area 51.

I post an index [slashdot.org] yearly.

Re:billions of worlds with life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39624443)

"There are probably billions of worlds with life...and probably millions of worlds with intelligent life..."

In our galaxy or in the universe?

Wrt population density that makes a difference of at least 6 orders of magnitude.
If it's in the universe then 99.999% of that life will never be detectable by us, and it means there's probably very little life near Earth.

Sun's siblings? Are you sure? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39623301)

I'm not certain that occupying roughly the same part of phase space as the Sun, and having similar chemistry, is enough to qualify these targets stars as being definitively born in the same place as our Sun.

Don't get me wrong, this kind of targeting search isn't necessarily a bad idea - I'm just skeptical that anyone is so sure of the dynamic origin of our Sun.

Only a matter of time (1)

Ryan24 (2613215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624067)

Given the rate of technological advancement that could possibly occur in the relatively near future, I think some people have been pessimistic about our chances of intelligent life out there. That, and the fact that articles are popping up by the day about hopeful researchers finding new potential life hosting areas. If we can make it to 2700, I would be surprised if some type of contact has not been made.

Re:Only a matter of time (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624135)

There is the possibility of thr Great Filter - some type of unavoidable disaster that destroys civilisations before they can go interstellar. Perhaps there comes a point when technology is advanced enough that anyone with a decent education and access to commonly-available components will be able to build a doomsday machine.

Re:Only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39624675)

There are all too many reasons why we may never be able to hear from them.

1. the 1-bad-seed you describe that wants to destroy everything (and can)
2. the accident (same as #1 except it wasn't on purpose)
3. competing cultures on the same planet may decide that the best solution for not sharing anything is full encryption of everything (thus they become indistinguishable from the surrounding noise)
4. an aggressive interstellar species would also fully encrypt everything to get closer to their targets before being noticed
5. any sufficiently advanced technology/communication may be beyond our ability to perceive (imagine what transmissions at 1000 MeBps (MecaBytes per second: 10^36Bps) might look like to our scanners)

Re:Only a matter of time (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39627789)

3, barring 5, should still be detectable if the communications work in any way like ours do - the payload is encrypted, but the protocol syntax is necessarily clear, otherwise nothing would be able to distinguish it from noise, including the intended receiving device.

Re:Only a matter of time (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39628507)

Some types of encryptions cannot be distinguished from noise unless you know the protocol.

Re:Only a matter of time (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39627287)

You don't need a disaster. All you need is running out of easily obtained energy after squandering your inheritance.

And what if we find intelligent life? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39624863)

Even if they were only 1 light year away the distance is mind boggling.

Communication and transportation would be essentially impossible with current technology. Sure it could be argued that an array of flashing lights or mirrors could be used to communicate, but at great time intervals might take hundreds of years to establish a conversation such as "hello".

Re:And what if we find intelligent life? (1)

VanillaCoke420 (662576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39627917)

Radio or laser would be good methods to use.

Suitable for life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39630359)

Yeah, great. 'Here's another two hundred planets which might possibly have some level of 'life' on them.' Life, in this case, mostly includes a strong tendency towards thickening in the (probably) liquid water. We are not talking 'life' of the spaceship flying kind. We are talking life of the proto-DNA, might-kinda-be-hospitable-to-protiens-if-there-isn't-too-much-oxygen kind.

At the same time science keeps telling us we are stuck on this rock until our species dies off.

Yay.

Wake me when the aliens land or leave me to sleep.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?